tv [untitled] February 28, 2011 4:00pm-4:30pm EST
running on empty seems like it's the last thing america needs right now higher gas prices because of higher oil prices because the turmoil threatens the u.s. economy is the political price too high for the obama administration. and the middle class movement trying to make its way in america so divided along political and class lines so has the fight for union rights opens up wounds that are unlikely to heal. and as the united states deals with problems from labor unrest to skyrocketing oil prices what america spending and revenues everyone's
talking about it including the infamous bernie made off says the whole government is a ponzi scheme. but do we want. rolling back support as wal-mart look to take a bite out of the big apple not everyone is buying into capitalism we're going to take a look at the high cost of cheap food. to afternoon it's monday february twenty eighth four pm here in washington d.c. i'm going to soskin you're watching our team that if you're driving these days and most americans are a trip to the gas station it's probably pretty painful right now at least for your pocket that's because protests in the middle east have had more repercussions than just getting rid of some leaders the uncertainty that's fueling more more countries in that region is also raising the price of fuel at a time when millions of americans are already having trouble making ends meet what
could this mean for the obama administration the president's political future and also economic recovery in general are lister well she's got some answers for us take a look at this. tunisia. egypt. grain. algeria. and libya protest in country seeming to fuel one another unrest spreading like wildfire through the middle east and north africa only raging in only here or your rich countries that helped fuel the world's use of more than eighty four million barrels of crude a day. uncertainty over production has sent prices soaring meaning the shock waves from the middle east turmoil are being felt worldwide will is a most valuable resource on the planet today could be. extremely
hard now the mideast crisis is hitting home for outrage americans prices have skyrocketed so too have the prices people pay for gasoline and now the price americans pay at the pump is threatening to derail the u.s. economic recovery a surge in oil. prices will be the end of the u.s. economy not just an end to the recovery there's no more bailouts like a reality peak oil expert michael c. rupert sees happening it or oil hits one hundred fifty dollars a barrel which he believes is inevitable this year others predicted going to two hundred twenty dollars it's so devastating because oil. fuels more than just cars. it fuels the entire global economy. though there's no doubt that if gas goes to five dollars a gallon for americans after some predict there would be a high political price to pay for the obama administration's you know gasoline
prices go up and much and for a very long period. of your or. your political impact yet there is no denying the u.s. has played a role in the events that have transpired in the middle east every time. u.s. president barack obama went to the podium calling for this that there must be reform political social and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the egyptian people and calling for egyptian president hosni mubarak's resignation he was calling for an end to the status quo which means a rise in uncertainty in the rich region so did leaders weigh the toll it could take on their own economy some argue they don't have the power to kind of waiting back trying or push their back against an avalanche and i don't think we're going to hear a lot of success that may not stop the u.s. from trying to take control some observers believe the u.s.
may intervene militarily in libya more oil reserves are massive under false pretenses of helping protesting people has nothing to do with interest. it has everything to do with the interest of the u.s. corporate oil corporations military. profit either way analysts say the price of fuel going up will simply fuel public rage and the government is largely helpless in american people are going through a very nasty right and there's no way out of it but i can tell you the government understands that it's time lauren mr r.t. new york and our key financial correspondent lauren was there is talking to us from our new york parmar hard because there was always you know i found it very interesting in your piece that you happy as x. parts saying that the united states might intervene militarily in libya but they ministration is saying no way so why are some folks still questioning us.
yeah a couple of the people i interviewed in my story said that they wouldn't be surprised if the u.s. or nato really started sending forces in but what they're looking at when they talk about that even though the u. u.s. has ruled that out is evidence to the contrary one of the sources in my story cited the hundreds of reports on the internet you can find when you just look up the opposition group in libya the the national front for the salvation of libya they have ties to the cia many believe that the cia has financed and funneled them arms and trained this group and that this is the group that is that is huling the rebellion in libya and that the u.s. is backing them so that's one of the examples that people cite another is the calls for a no fly zone in libya just yesterday we heard senator john mccain call for that on a morning talk show and you know this is reminiscent of the iraq war for people so all of these kind of build up to a belief that the u.s. will rely on some form of military action to get involved in libya really to secure
these oil fields to secure these oil reserves which are you know only six percent of what the u.s. import but which represent billions of dollars in corporate interests and u.s. corporations that do operate there and they have a huge stake there and they didn't see this you don't see this kind of military talk this kind of calls for action of this sort with this level of u.s. involvement for egypt or for tunisia and why well they didn't have you know billions of dollars billions of barrels of oil in reserves in those countries so that's what people point to learn it's interesting point that you bring up and we can't forget though that the u.s. does get as you said a very small percentage of its oil from libya but you also mention we know the oil corporations are there so at this point if the united states does get involved would it be all about the corporations and short of saving them. well that's what the sources that were highly critical of u.s. policy in my story believe is going on you know libya has forty six billion barrels
of oil in reserves there that's a huge number and they cite where this rebellion started it happened in benghazi which is right near all of the reserves right where oil production takes pay place near all of the oil rich fields they do not think that's going to dental they think that u.s. involvement would be under the guise of helping the people but that it would really be about protecting the oil in the corporate interests that operate there you know . on analysts and commentators have noted that there was an editorial in the wall street journal last week saying that the u.s. should be involved in helping the libyan people overthrow gadhafi and you know the law street journal obviously representing more pro-business points and points of view and all of these are kind of reasons that people point to to say that yes this would be about us corporations and oil and not about democracy or about helping the people so we have to obviously follow the money trail there and also connect those dots and what we heard are some very scary numbers on the x.
rays that you interviewed in regards to how much well prices could actually spike i mean we heard the numbers two hundred two twenty being thrown around what would actually cause the prices to skyrocket so much because we did see them sort of settle back last week. we did we did we saw the impact of speculation and how that can cause a spike in oil prices analysts that i've spoken to said that nobody saw the spike in when oil prices last week coming and that it hit you know one hundred dollars a barrel for. broke records that people weren't expecting but they say what would really cause oil to surge is if another opec country went offline right now production in libya has been cut by about half of the one point six million barrels a produce a day so if another country was to go offline and last week what we saw were the concerns over saudi arabia saudi arabia had not come out saying they could make up their production and so that's what sent the price skyrocketing because if saudi arabia was to go offline because of some kind of
a revolution or protest or unrest spreading there that's twenty five percent of the world's oil supply that that would not be an option according to the peak oil experts that i've spoken to the girl just couldn't handle that and lauren very briefly of course we can't forget that this obviously impacts the price of food bring that into the equation and how could possibly darrelle the canonic recovery. well i think about oil is that it's not just about cars it's about the entire global economy ninety six percent of g.d.p. growth according to the experts in my story is tied to greenhouse gas emission oil is what fuels production in the world it's what allows food to be harvested in transported and in addition to that you know we've seen through prices increase based on other other issues at hand the weather the inflationary pressure from the money policy the monetary policy in the u.s. of unintended easing which people have accused of driving food prices up because
speculation is gone into commodities so you have a number of pressures on food and food prices which have really been driven up and this would only exacerbate that absolutely so many americans unemployed struggling to already put food on the table so they definitely don't want to see the price of food increase our financial correspondent lauren was to live there for us in new york and speaking of financial troubles the name bernie made off has become synonymous with greed deregulation and the economic crisis in general and now the seventy two year old condit is speaking out in a series of phone interviews with a new yorker magazine reporter male said quote that as he see looks terrible in a state it's unbelievable goldman sachs no one has any criminal convictions the whole new regulatory reform is a joke the whole government he says is up on the scheme. now for most of the country is a monster a heartless human being who swindled and betrayed thousands of investors bankrupted charities and of course hedge funds but still many folks say that he's making some
interesting points here behind bars for more conason author max rather will is talking with us from our studios in new york mags good to see you as always so what do you make of comments there. well thank you for having me i think made up this kind of stating the obvious only it becomes less obvious and more dubious when he states that as opposed to anyone else but given the size and duration of the malfeasance and misadventures inside his head from there it is it does sort of stretch belief that nobody noticed it especially if we had this sort of still kicking around stories about whistleblowers contacting federal regulatory agencies and voicing their concerns to various banks and feeder farms for years only to be kind of dismissed and that does suggest a big problem that we've had all over american business including the financial industry which is if you do well enough people have a tendency not to ask questions until it's too late that's a very interesting point but i you know i want to set this whole thing because he's
not the only one to question how goldman sachs is getting off scot free still raking in huge profits and massive bonuses here you know a lot of people are concerned i mean if you listen to voices of protests or even actually if you look at the pictures on the giant placards being paraded around all over places like madison wisconsin you see blame wall street not said that this is i.t. has come to a sort of weird situation where virtually everything people don't like what's going on in the united states is somehow blamed on wall street but on the other hand we haven't seen too many prosecutions we haven't seen too many people go to jail and we see a lot of the leading firms from before two thousand and eight mostly still around and still in positions of leadership and speaking about i want to mention that the documentary our film inside job about the two thousand financial crisis won an oscar last night and the direct there charles ferguson had something to say about the financial crisis and some of those bankers take a listen. i must start by pointing out that three years
after or horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud not a single financial executive is going to jail and that's wrong. ok so using our platform app economy awards to bring up a question how many folks have brought up but here's another question why isn't anything being done about it but we did see some executives go to jail but they tended to be smaller than the alternative asset space where the firms are much smaller i do think that the public has a generous helping of outrage here much of which is very justified i also think that this is heating up again it will stay hot for many months in part because a society that did have the money to bail out its banks three years ago is a sighting it doesn't have the money right now to give children food for preschool to pay for it's school teachers and it's firefighters and police officers i think that's rubbing some salt in the wounds of the big expensive bailout of a lot of firms where the general public sentiment is that guilty wealthy parties
weren't held accountable but now school teachers firefighters and social workers are paying to clean up this mess which really wasn't theirs to begin with obviously and we see that going on in wisconsin and many states across the country but that's you know the obama administration would say hey we are doing something about it look at financial reform but there you have me all saying there's one thing is a joke would you agree with. you know i'm not sure that i would be either comfortable or particular inclined to believe with bernie made of that many things also there's a heavy dose of help exculpatory or or you know offloading of personal responsibility in what made office saying even though i think there's some validity to it a lot of what he's saying is i'm a victim too and you know perhaps i'm not that special and unique and i think you might be right on that one sense he became the personification of the face the individualised the ship of the national tragedy that continues to unfold and so it is hard to listen to him and take him seriously but on the other hand there is a grain of truth to what he says now matthew nineteen is but i want to reiterate
this point now we see people taking to the streets in wisconsin several other states they're staying and say i'm going after the hedge fund and the banks you're going after us you know the firefighters the police the teachers the public sector employees he think that sort of culture will ever change where we sort of bail out of banks the people not so much yeah i think you're going to have a significant shakeout here i think part of what's happened is that there's a lot i mean a significant change has very briefly what does that mean for significant financial reform the americans believe in to some extent mostly with debt did try to buy their way out of social problems for the last forty or fifty years and we don't have enough money to buy our way out of our problems anymore so what we buy our way out of one problem we decide to basically leave another problem to fester so we bailed out our banks but we don't seem to be making a priority of our kids in school our public safety for our police officers our firefighters our social workers our clerks we don't have enough money so the
public's view of itself and the reality of the economy aren't two separate tracks and they're going to have a head on collision which may have begun in madison wisconsin absolutely and there we see where the priorities are economists that the new school and author are next right well thanks for coming on next. now for one villain to a corporation that has time and again then vilified wal-mart the poster child of the negative consequences of capitalism are he's going to print explains how cheap food comes at a high price and how now more than ever average americans are fighting would they say is the corporate going guy take a look. what do we want residents of america's largest city what do we want. oh they are at war with america's largest corporation. and they have the money they have the power they have what we have. thousands of new yorkers have mobilized to keep new york city well mark free the corporate the
human is aggressively aiming to break ground in the big apple a bigger selection of products spending millions on ad campaigns promising to bring affordable groceries and quality jobs to new york city's low income communities but we all want to see what is going to happen when they come in. the market are going to go out of business because they're going to create more jobs where you're going to you know going to going to just leave then you're going to lose three jobs the world's largest retailer wields unmatched buying power in prices impossible for small businesses to beat past studies have shown urban wal-mart stores absorbing sales causing up to twenty five percent of surrounding shops to shut down because we're going to go to school new york city supply shop owner when he calls one mart a weapon of mass job destruction i venture you will be affected by. small business owners like you can also can't compete against wal-mart powerful influence on us
politics we have small businesses we don't have the kind of power we don't have two hundred three hundred thousand dollars to help somebody lobby for a senator or representative according to published reports in two thousand and ten wal-mart donated more than three million dollars to federal officials or candidates through their political action committee and spent more than six million dollars on lobbyists. the multinational corporation has also spent hundreds of millions of dollars settling or fighting employee lawsuits involving low wages labor law violations inadequate health care and gender discrimination it's like when you drop a stone in upon the ripples you know because all the way to the. last year wal-mart sales generated four hundred five billion dollars meanwhile new store employees in the u.s. are paid eight seventy five an hour with a reported yearly income of less than fourteen thousand dollars an explanation for why many wal-mart workers qualify for state welfare programs or much more.
traditional target pretty good global destruction a tourist anti-union policies have been criticized for stripping employees of fair wages and benefits ernestine bassett has worked for wal-mart for four years and says she's never received a raise if you marry her bra below their maturity or times they're still the women they have been added to wal-mart is criticized as a corporation aiming to keep workers and shoppers dependent on one mighty power new yorkers say their battle reflects a nationwide need to break free from corporate colonialism and the profits that drive them during a fortnight r.t. new york and of course wal-mart is not the only corporation to be blamed for abusing labor and trying to skirt around environmental regulations filmmaker and author of this book right here like i think rush is talking to us from westchester new york thanks for coming on so you know you've written about this issue time and
again you have films like robert greenwald's exposing some the practices of wal-mart but is it making any kind of difference i mean is wal-mart changing its behavior at all. i don't think the game is. right in people or corporations into somehow you know behaving differently. so what is going to send a better about that kind of you know the rabble rousing and fear mongering that the easy way to disable the entire system is just for people to start doing things for one another is for people to accept that they're ways to support your public school there are ways to share services with other people on the block and i feel like you know people people in america and around the world really once they do they adopt this kind of consumerists idea this consumerist relationship to the world they think they need to buy their way out of at their problems rather than sharing their
way out of their problems you know and it's kind of as simple as that is joining in the states we have community supported agriculture projects everywhere it's it's so much easier to join what's called a c.s.a. and subscribe to a farm a local farm or your food rather than go into the you know the big ag or supermarket you can support your public schools you can share things with other people you can create clubs where people trade it's really not that hard what makes it difficult is when people think that the wal-mart way is the only way and then actually get into trouble but that's of course you know those things that you point out are individual entree says by what we think about this business of unions many say that one mark is probably the fiercest anti-union company out there i thought of our past but especially in light of all of these are protests everything across the country but it's tricky. you know unions were created to give people an entity as big as a corporation to fight them you know there are these big corporations and they can
you know whether american or early international corporations and they can control labor they can do all sorts of things so labor created these entities to fight for that these big trade you need big labor unions and sometimes they work sometimes they just become corrupt and selves because they're so big it's seems to me that there's a whole lot of people you can just working for corporations who don't really need to be you know that the the way we view economic recovery in the united states is we think we're going to get it going to get a bank here to invest in some corporation to build a factory to get was jobs and that might not be the best way to get to a sustainable economic recovery or whatever but that's the way i would think it's promoting small businesses if you get a town and if you're in lansing michigan and g.m. is shut down your plant and you've got hundreds of thousands of people with needs and with skills but without jobs and without money they can search for one another
you know in the great depression people develop what we call complimentary currencies local currencies through which they can trade goods and services without borrowing from big banks and it actually working so if you actually made an illegal because it was sucking energy from central banking and that's actually on developing local currencies here but that i want to go back to another point and you said small businesses but the problem is these corporations are driving out to small businesses but rather to martyr another corporation even back to whole point the whole point for them is to make a profit is not carrying some non-governmental organization business but it's how they make a profit you know the problem is really for the last five six hundred years really since the invention of the chartered monopoly the way for a big company to make money is not innovating the way for a big company to make money is. by extracting value either from resources or from people and until until we can reflect the economy towards innovation rather than
exploitation we're going to keep running up against the same wars there's something else that you write about that i think should be brought into the equation the back of this cheap labor is often outsourced to the some of those that are nations the ones whose lawns have been restructured by the i imagine other international institutions brain matter into the picture are you saying that they're sort of in bad we've big american corporations as well these international institutions i wouldn't go on big american corporations anymore corporations don't have national borders i mean that's the whole trick these are international corporations this is who goes as much as exxon in wal-mart is much is telling mexico you know it's go to fund these are not they don't understand national boundaries anymore it's part of the problem that really i would look at the core of the problem is that really back in the eleven and twelve hundreds we developed centralized currency which is what the global economy runs on and centralized currency is centralized for a reason it returns capital back to the banks and that's
a very hard taskmaster the central bank is going if you're going to somehow develop an economy that he's people as well and of course that these are all have consequences of globalization good for some but not so good for others filmmaker douglas rushkoff thanks so much for coming on thank you. and while many folks blame the big corporations and banks for causing the financial crisis some are finally taking to the streets over the state of wisconsin saw the biggest protest in for vietnam war just a pack maker and yesterday police actually caved in and refused to forcibly remove the folks that were occupying the state capitol building even though they were given a clear deadline to get out and we also saw solidarity rallies all around the country including thousands coming out of new york city and also los angeles but are all these rallies making any kind of difference or are they falling on deaf ears well or harshness of the residents on that took to the streets of new york city to find out. people across
the u.s. are protesting proposed legislation intended to slash benefits for the middle class i think really protesting the fact that every people are being asked to make their fight this well last year continue to profit even more this week let's talk about that i'm a member of this week's middle close and we say he won't stay evening we will be all those and first then friday we were four hours that's a big thing do you think that people in the middle class are responsible at all for where the economy that right now no wall street. so why isn't wall street paying more why aren't they being asked to contribute more to health claim because the government would prefer to buy their pay him often and bail him out. isn't like a boy's club is that what it is louis do you think society needs rich people some
people say that you know the economy needs rich people to feed it and keep it going i think this is sad to needs a good honest and smart people. to do the right thing with money no matter how much they have yeah probably i'm an idealist i don't know i think there are a lot of people who have a lot of money who feel that they're willing to pay more taxes but they don't get as much attention because it's boring to say that you'd be willing to contribute more it's not popular right it sounds to socialist to say that that's a dirty word these days the upper class probably pays ninety percent of the taxes and more in new york city and new york state it's probably the same thing in wisconsin i don't know the numbers but i think everybody is paying for it paying to keep the government moving so why are there is there more riled up than if it if it seems like so clear cut the why is everyone so in a fit right now where people don't want to give up. what they've got were it not for the news coverage and or the social media and i'm not saying it's bad but were
it not for the type of coverage. we it would not be neither of these things either of the middle east things or the things going on with the states would be quite as hot as they are i am not i'm not a fan the unions but you don't stomp on them this way and i think that this guy has presidential ambitions he thinks he's going to be the next sarah palin and i just think that it's a mistake and i'm glad that people from all over the country going out there to support the teachers in wisconsin remember who we think should be paying for the best economy but bottom line is that if you ask the middle class to relinquish benefits it's only fair to ask because they might the upper class. for now for more on the stories we covered for our website that's our last usa don't forget you can stream all this.